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Ok… I’m finally ready to admit it’s exceeded a one shot…

Title: Smile: Amuse Me
Author: Arithion
Rating: G
Genre: Angstish, bit of drama… um… yeah
Pairing: None really, heavy Fuji/Tez friendship… imply all you want though…
Chapter: Okay Okay… Chapter Four… *sigh*
Summary: What’s behind a smile…?
Warning: This chapter sticks close to episode Four for around one third of it… the rest is off screen time /snicker. Um… well… same vein as the other’s maybe a little lighter… thanks to moffit for betaing



Smile:
Amuse Me


Fuji sighed lightly, the soft wisp of breath making the hair hanging in his face sway gently. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Tezuka tense slightly, and the prodigy grinned to himself.

They were studying at Tezuka’s house. Fuji had commandeered the bed, because it was just so much larger and more comfortable than his own. He was lying on his stomach, with his legs bent so that his feet were in the air. His books were pushed to the side with long completed homework.

So he sighed again, this time a little louder, and suppressed the chuckle at the way Tezuka’s shoulders tensed again. It was barely discernable, but Fuji knew what to look for. He raised his hands in front of him and rested his chin on them, bending his back in the process. Feeling restless, he also started to swing his feet in the air, feeling the springs of the bed move ever so slightly under him.

He knew Tezuka was paying a fraction of attention to him from the way he sat, and from the way he wasn’t fully concentrating on what he was writing. Usually, Fuji was considerate of the fact that the other boy took a little longer, but right then Fuji was fidgety. It wasn’t his fault Tezuka was so damn meticulous.

“Ne, Tezuka?” He saw the older boy freeze, pausing in his work for a moment, before giving a slight shake of the head and continuing without responding. Fuji frowned good-naturedly. It seemed he hadn’t quite pushed Tezuka that far yet. Just because they’d become closer friends, didn’t mean that Fuji spared Tezuka his sense of humour or love for mischief, nor did it mean that he didn’t like teasing anymore. He just … chose his moments better.

Fuji persisted. “Ne, Tezuka?”

Again, there was a slight tensing of the taller boy’s shoulders, but this time he also half turned in his chair to look at the friend sprawled on the bed. His response was drawn, as if against his will, but he spoke anyway. “Yes, Fuji?”

Fuji just beamed a smile. “I’m bored.”

Tezuka seemed to resist the urge to roll his eyes, and turned back to his desk, dismissing the mood of the prodigy, which was really what Fuji had been expecting. But he’d been telling the truth. Fuji was bored.

So he flipped himself onto his back, hands pillowed beneath his head, and stared at the ceiling. This whole friendship thing was confusing. He knew he really should let Tezuka study, but he was just so damn bored. For the next few minutes he decided to count Tezuka’s books on the shelves, but lost interest very quickly. There were 32 books on the top shelf, 43 on the second…Fuji had counted them so often he knew the numbers off by heart. Not that that would have taken him long either…

So he sighed again as his mind wandered through different avenues of possibility for his own entertainment. One idea struck him as funny, and although he was fairly certain Tezuka wouldn’t think it was, Fuji just had to try it.

A grin spread over his face, and Fuji licked his lips before placing his hand on his stomach and letting out a long, wanton moan, and breathing a name in the same fashion. “Tezuk-kaaahhh!”

Fuji heard the pencil snap, and the chair fall over. He turned his face to look at Tezuka, and couldn’t help laughing at the indignant scowl he wore. “You should… see your face!” Fuji managed to gasp out. Oh what an idea. Fuji scrambled for his bag and his camera.” Oh wait… just hold…this is priceless…” but his words trailed off when Tezuka grabbed a hold of his arm.

Fuji’s defences started to slam into place, and it was all he could do to just give Tezuka a warning look. The Captain dropped his hold, but pinned Fuji with a displeased gaze. The prodigy counted to five, slowly, trying to reverse his reaction. How he hated to be physically touched. It intruded on his space, on his mask…and although he’d begun to feel slightly more comfortable around his friend, Fuji knew it would always be easier to hide.

Tezuka was waiting for Fuji to calm down, the prodigy could see it. So he took in a deep breath or two and looked Tezuka in the eyes, no smile, just awaiting the chastising comment he knew was coming.

“That wasn’t funny, Fuji.” There was a disgruntled note in Tezuka’s voice, that spoke of him having taken slight offence, which Fuji had never intended. Well, not really anyway, he’d just been bored.

“I thought it was…” Fuji’s voice trailed off and he looked out the window, before looking back. “But… I realise you probably don’t think so, which is what made it so appealing in the first place.” He raised his eyes to the ceiling. “I still wish I’d gotten another photo…”

Tezuka looked at him suspiciously. “Another photo?”

Fuji smiled and didn’t miss a beat. “ Yes, another photo. You know, of people … to add to my collection.” His eyes crinkled up, not letting Tezuka even get the chance at seeing exactly what Fuji was thinking. His smile could come in damn useful in certain circumstances.

“Fuji…” Tezuka’s voice held a warning note.

Which Fuji happily ignored. “Yes, Tezuka?”

The captain gave up, and sighed. “Just… let me finish.” It was almost a question, just not quite. A silent plea that Tezuka didn’t want Fuji to go home yet, that he needed company, perhaps even to talk about something later on.

Fuji cocked his head to one side, and opened his eyes. “Okay,” was his reply. It seemed something was bothering his friend, and Fuji, always curious about what made Tezuka tick, decided it was something worth fighting his boredom for.

Besides, he had time to speculate, and that could always prove interesting. He wondered if it could be something about the slight joke he had just played, and dismissed that thought. It wasn’t something that would affect Tezuka. The things that affected Tezuka most were tennis and school.

Since he was doing his homework, and the only tension visible was when Fuji annoyed him, the prodigy surmised that it had nothing to do with school. Therefore, it had to have something to do with tennis, as did most of the things that the captain thought about on a daily basis.

Furthermore, it probably had something to do with that new little runt at the school. Of course, runt was a nasty thing to say, but Fuji didn’t mean it like that, well not entirely. It was just nice to see someone able to play tennis, who was shorter than himself.

So, since it had something to do with that Echizen Ryouma, then…Fuji mused. He was pretty sure what it was, and he smiled at the thought. Tezuka tended to concern himself with things that were really nothing to be concerned about. A tennis club was a strong as its weakest player. It was obviously the right choice to let strong, new blood heat up the competition and thereby the standards.

Fuji’s eyes narrowed and he watched Tezuka pack away his books. It had grown darker, and the taller boy stood to turn on the light. The prodigy watched the other boy take off his school jacket and hang it on the back of the door, rolling his white shirt sleeves up before turning to face Fuji.

“You’ve done the right thing, Tezuka.” Fuji’s voice was soft, but firm.

The tension seemed to leak out of Tezuka’s frame, as if Fuji’s words were all he’d needed. Just that little bit of reassurance, that no one else gave to him because they assumed he wouldn’t need it. Sometimes Fuji wondered why Tezuka insisted on growing up so fast. Being a child was a privilege not had for very long.

Then again, sometimes Fuji understood all too well.

Tezuka sat down next to Fuji. “It’ll be good for the team.” There was an underlying tone in there, that made Fuji sigh when he nodded, hoping Tezuka would leave it there. No such luck.

The silence stretched, a little awkwardly, slight tension building before Tezuka decided to break it. “Will it make you…”

But Fuji cut his words off, tone cautioning. “Tezuka…”

Fists clenched slightly with frustration. “Fuji, you could… so easily.” But he stopped, noticing Fuji’s expression closing off.

Deliberately misunderstanding, Fuji chose to smile brightly. “Oh, don’t worry. I’ll make the team!”

The look he received from Tezuka said more than a thousand words. They both knew Fuji would make the team, they both knew the topic they’d just hit was taboo. Yet, Fuji couldn’t help realising that it was a topic Tezuka was only going to keep insisting on, until Fuji finally gave in.

About to excuse himself because of hunger and leave, Fuji was surprised when Tezuka stood and spoke first. “We should eat.” He looked down at Fuji, brown eyes intense, saying a lot more than those words implied.

And although Fuji knew he should go home, and although he insisted it was only a precaution that he’d brought a spare uniform with him, he smiled, giving his assent by standing. It was getting to be a habit that was hard to break. But somehow he just felt so much more comfortable around his friend than he did around anyone else.

Wordlessly, they headed down to scavenge dinner in the kitchen. Tezuka’s family was around as little as Fuji’s own. Probably another reason he felt so comfortable in the house. There were rarely others there to intrude on their silent ease.

Just like Fuji realised that his friend couldn’t always be that shining pillar of support, he realised that around Tezuka he didn’t have to worry about always being perfect. Because genius though he was supposed to be, the captain understood that sometimes… just sometimes, Fuji needed to feel human.

~*~

The next day proved to be interesting. At least Fuji thought it was. Ranking matches. As he stood on the sidelines watching the freshman in block D, Syusuke idly contemplated his upcoming matches.

That he’d qualify wasn’t a question. He was just contemplating on how he’d do so. Should he give some of the non-regulars some hope and then snatch it away? He chuckled under his breath, realising that that might be just a little too unnecessarily cruel.

Tezuka was standing a little ways off, and Fuji knew nothing escaped the captain’s notice. As it was, he’d probably get a few inquisitive looks from his captain later on. Of course, should Fuji put his tentative plan into action, he had the idea that he would be running laps for so long that the sun would set. So he sighed, smile still firmly fixed in place. Why did Tezuka have to spoil so much of his fun?

Fuji remembered the look on the captain’s face the previous day, and his smile widened. Ahh, yes, when they were alone as friends, he could exact revenge then. Next time, he’d just make sure to have his camera ready beforehand.

“Fujiko-chan.”

Eiji’s voice broke through Fuji’s contemplations. “Mmmm?”

“Your next match is soon!” Eiji’s eyes were shining, but that was usually the case. “Or are you that confident?” The redhead laughed and rested a hand on Fuji’s shoulder in camaraderie.

It was a touch Fuji had grown used to over the years, and he suppressed the urge to shake the hand loose immediately. Instead he smiled and neatly removed himself after a couple of seconds. “We’ll see. Maybe I’ll have an off day…” He chuckled at Eiji’s flummoxed expression as he walked to his court. Sometimes it was fun to play with his friends…what was he kidding himself? It was always fun.

Fuji wiped at the light sweat he’d worked up against his opponent. Really, that was boring. He could have won it in his sleep. So, he was looking forward to his match against a regular opponent.

Of course that wasn’t until the next day, and for now, if he hurried, he could make the Echizen and Kaidoh match. Fuji felt he needed some entertainment, and was quite sure that match would provide him with it. Besides, he wanted to see who would win the bet: him or Tezuka. If Kaidoh was forced to use the move earlier then Fuji would win, and if he used it normally, then Tezuka would win.

Although Fuji wouldn’t mind eating Tezuka’s favourite meal, he was hoping that Kaidoh would use the shot earlier, because then he could watch Tezuka try not to emote while eating wasabi sushi. It’d definitely be entertaining.

They watched the match, and Fuji smiled brightly as the freshman forced the junior to try and outplay him almost at the very beginning. “His move came sooner, Tezuka.”

Not a word of the bet, because that was just between them, and no one else needed to know. Fuji continued to smile as Tezuka replied in his usual analytical way. “It means Kaidoh is serious.”

Fuji still couldn’t help but chuckle, and he could feel the burning glare that Tezuka momentarily focused on him. Tezuka might like winning, but Fuji preferred to be amused.

Of course, his amusement increased tenfold when Echizen changed the racket to his left hand. It was all Fuji could do to keep from clapping his hands at the performance. Ahh, this boy would be his source of much entertainment.

Fuji’s eyes narrowed, but his smile stayed in place as he watched the match progress. Could it be, that this boy would provide a challenge for him? Might actually make him put effort into tennis? Fuji didn’t mind if Tezuka beat him… there were reasons and whiles for that. But a freshman…Fuji did have some pride.

“Tezuka, what do you think will happen?” he asked his friend, but it seemed that Tezuka was in one of his moods. Fuji turned back to watch the match with a smile, knowing that the lack of an answer was a lot more informative than a verbal one. Tezuka was calculating matches in his head, figuring out what strengths and weaknesses the boy had. In all essence being an excellent captain, the way he always was. It made Fuji wonder how much of Tezuka would be left if that was taken away from him. Not liking that thought, Fuji dismissed it quickly.

He watched Echizen break Kaidoh’s style, and smiled. The boy was a predator, Fuji felt a tingle of anticipation run through him. This was certainly going to heat things up. He muttered, not to anyone in particular. “This is a good match.” He could feel Tezuka relax, as if the match was giving the older boy confirmation that his choice had been the right one. Fuji continued to smile.

Fuji couldn’t help it. It was a habit of his to murmur out loud when he was thinking. It was a habit that he knew Tezuka found annoying at times, and was grateful for at others. “Has Kaidoh still not realised it yet?” But it was the way Fuji was, and one of his own idiosyncrasies, which he had no intention of changing. “They’re both tired, but realise the hidden secret behind each other’s technique, and not realising it will have an effect on your mind.”

This time Tezuka answered him. “The one who fell for the trap was Kaidoh.” Yet Fuji heard the underlying tone in Tezuka’s voice and almost laughed. It was as if his friend was telling him he needn’t state the bleeding obvious. But that was just half the fun for Fuji, so he just smiled and ignored the subtle undertone.

Fuji’s smile slipped once, when Echizen used the Buggy Whip shot. He could feel the tension seep back into Tezuka, and almost sighed at his hard work having been undone. The prodigy could almost read the thoughts flitting through Tezuka’s mind. The other boy was worried because Echizen was playing so well and so easily against one of their best players. Would it be beneficial for the team, or would it be detrimental?

Kaidoh’s defeat came as no big surprise after the turn the match had taken. Fuji smiled, watching the resulting commotion through slit eyes, it seemed Kaidoh had yet to outgrow that violent reaction. “He’s still the same…” he murmured to no one in particular. The match was over, the first big upset gone. Fuji turned and followed Tezuka silently to the locker room.

~*~

Tezuka sat at the kitchen table, while Fuji prepared the sushi. There was a light furrow to the captain’s brow that spoke volumes.

Fuji tsked good-naturedly, a small, genuine smile on his face. “Come now, stop that. A bet is a bet.” He placed the Wasabi sushi in front of his friend, popping a piece into his own mouth before crossing his arms and waiting.

Brown eyes regarded the prodigy warily as he took a piece himself. Even Tezuka couldn’t stop his face from scrunching in distaste as he ate the piece. Fuji’s laugh rang through the kitchen as he patiently waited for the taller boy to finish his price for losing the bet.

Finally finished, Tezuka stood and knocked back two glasses of water before looking at Fuji’s open laughing face. “Sometimes I wonder about you, Fuji.”

The smile lessened, becoming wistful as large sea green eyes looked up at the captain. “Only sometimes?

Tezuka just nodded. It was all he needed to do.

~~**~~

Hope you enjoyed it! Feedback is much appreciated!

Thank you for reading! Hehe

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