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More Smile....

Yep... Sixth installment

Title: Smile: Seek Me
Author: Arithion
Rating: G
Genre: Angstish, bit of drama… um… yeah
Pairing: None really, heavy Fuji/Tez friendship… imply all you want though…ok and I’m willing to admit shonen-ai hints too…*grumbles*
Chapter: Six…
Summary: What’s behind a smile…?
Warning: This did not turn out the way I intended…it’s a little angsty, playful, and um yeah… read… set the night before the first Inui drink saga



Smile: Seek Me

Fuji placed his hand on the door knob, took a deep breath to fix the smile firmly in place, and opened the door. “Eiji.” He greeted the redhead, his voice its usual soft timbre. He’d never had to put effort into his calm front before – a thousand thoughts of how to make Tezuka pay flitted through his mind…most of them ending with the prodigy in jail.

“Fujiko-chan!” Always full of energy, Kikumaru almost bounded into the house, flipping off his shoes and turning to face Fuji, eyes shining.

As he closed the door, Fuji wondered idly if he would be pardoned for recalling who, hunting down, and fatally disembowelling whoever had first called him that damn nickname. He then dismissed the thought under the vague impression that it was Yumiko. One just didn’t kill siblings…well, not often anyway. The prodigy smiled, allowing a slight chuckle to pass his lips, and headed up to his room knowing Eiji would follow, more than likely with a constant stream of chatter. And he wasn’t disappointed.

“I don’t know why I forgot. I couldn’t believe it when I went through my homework diary and…” Eiji’s voice trailed off when Fuji pushed the door open to reveal Tezuka. He was leaning against the wall next to the window, arms crossed and eyes focused on them as they walked through the door.

“Tezuka…” Eiji sounded a little surprised, and stopped in the doorway.

Fuji walked over to open the blinds, brushing lightly against the taller boy as he opened the blinds to let in the last rays of the days sun. He was only partially listening to what Eiji was saying now that the redhead had recovered his poise. The prodigy was too busy trying to figure out far too much.

“Ahhh,” Eiji began talking again. “Fuji didn’t mention that you were here too!”

The red rays distracted Fuji, and before he could stop himself he found himself mumbling in response. “Hmm. Must have slipped my mind… how very careless of me.” He could feel the tension in Tezuka’s body through the light contact of their shirtsleeves, even before he finished speaking. Yet, Fuji couldn’t seem to stop himself.

Turning to face Eiji, Fuji let his hand softly brush Tezuka’s elbow in an attempt to stop the reaction he could feel brewing. It was the closest thing he would give to an apology for thoughtless words, and Tezuka was the only person he would make that much of an effort with. The tension didn’t lessen, but neither did Tezuka speak. Fuji smiled and spoke smoothly. “Tezuka offered to help us study.”

If either Eiji or Tezuka saw fit to call bullshit, considering that Fuji rarely needed help with school work of any sort, neither of them uttered it.

If asked, Fuji would have to admit that the evening wasn’t the disaster he had thought it would be. In fact, he almost felt like Tezuka was watching them, observing them… or well…observing him more like it. And he wanted to know why.

There had always been a bond between himself and Eiji, having known each other for years. Despite that fact, the prodigy had never let the redhead get close enough to him to see behind the smile. For all that Eiji was a great friend, Fuji didn’t think the hyperactive boy would be able to handle the way Fuji really was, really could be.

The study session was the same as any study session with Eiji. There was a certain method that Fuji had found was best to get his friend to remember things. The redhead learned best when he could associate the answers with something in his day-to-day life. It amused Fuji no end, to assign the dates of important world events to different brands and flavours of toothpaste, to different types of burgers, drinks, sports shoe brands…and tennis balls and moves.

In a few cases, even songs helped. Fuji laughed, easing up a little, as his friend sung himself through the stages of the Meiji revolution. The atmosphere in the room wasn’t quite as tense as it had been, for which he was glad. He had no idea just what it was that bothered Tezuka so much about interacting with people outside of school. Well… he had a lot of assumptions, but no actual proof.

Eiji stopped singing, and looked at Fuji quizzically. “I got it right, ne, Fujiko-chan?”

Fuji suppressed a groan and smiled instead. “You always end up with it right, Eiji, even if you leave it a little late.” He chuckled and stood from his seat on the floor, holding out a hand to help Eiji up. “We should go get something to eat.” Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Tezuka stand as well. There was something…unsettling about the way the taller boy moved… something stiff. Fuji made note of it, to watch for later.

It didn’t take them long to prepare dinner, or more to the point, for Fuji to do so. He insisted since he was the host, and well, because it gave him an outlet he sorely needed right then. So while Eiji chattered about a new formation him and Oishi were practicing, and Tezuka sat in stony silence; Fuji made some noodles to go with the ever-present miso soup in his house. Maybe he wasn’t being very nice, but Fuji felt the need to have some fun.

He set the bowls down in front of his friends, and began eating his own without a second glance at them. That is, until Eiji howled. “Fuujiii!!! You…you…” The redhead dived for the water tap and, grabbing a glass, gulped down huge amounts of water. Tezuka’s only response was to cough and level one of those looks at Fuji.

Syusuke had been laughing softly, but smiled once more with that innocent air that only he could achieve. Tezuka’s gaze didn’t change at all, so the smiling prodigy got up to get some soup he hadn’t added wasabi to.

Eiji, still panting over the sink, glared at his friend. It didn’t last for long though, before breaking in to a grin. “Aww, Fuji! That was mean.” He pushed himself away from the sink and flounced in his chair, eyeing the new bow critically. “I can’t even stay angry at you. You can get away with anything with that smile of yours.”

Fuji chuckled, but stopped, almost shocked when Tezuka entered the conversation properly for the first time that night.

“Yes, he can, can’t he?” The question was rhetorical, and those brown eyes locked themselves onto Fuji. There was so much in those few words that Syusuke knew no one else would understand. And although it made him feel slightly uncomfortable, at the same time, it made him feel slightly privileged too.

Eiji didn’t seem to notice the implications. “See! Even Tezuka agrees with me. Seriously, Fuji, even the teachers let you get away with things because you smile so sweetly.”

Before Fuji could reply, Tezuka did. There was a glint to the captain’s eyes that he didn’t completely understand. Yet another untranslated Tezuka page. “Not because he has his work done on time, Kikumaru?”

The redhead blushed, matching his hair for a few seconds. “Well, maybe a small part of it, but…”

Fuji shut the rest out. Sometimes listening to Eiji ramble was a little strenuous, and right then Syusuke felt a little … drained. So he tidied up the kitchen, listening to Tezuka’s occasional lilting comment offset by Kikimaru’s usual excited chatter. The topic had turned from Fuji to more mundane things like tennis.

When he was done, Fuji sat himself down at the table, resting his chin on his hands and watching the other two. If his eyes came to linger that little bit longer on Tezuka, Fuji wasn’t about to admit it.

Eiji stood up, pushing back his chair and stretching his arms. “I need to go! It’s getting late. Thanks so much for the help, I might just pass this tomorrow!”

Fuji stood, shaking his head lightly, the smile almost genuine. “You know you always pass.” He accompanied his friend to the door, almost sorry to see him go. Fuji rarely forgot things, let alone forgave, and he hadn’t liked the argument he’d been having with Tezuka before Eiji’s arrival.

“See you both at school tomorrow!” Eiji waved as he ran down the path, closing the gate with a slam behind him. Fuji stood at the door for a few more seconds, before sighing softly and closing it.

He turned around to find Tezuka standing just a few feet away, watching him. With a shrug at the taller boy, Fuji headed up to his room. For some odd reason, he found himself not wanting Tezuka to follow. The air between them was heavy, and Fuji wasn’t sure he was ready to go into that territory yet. This … closeness was a little overwhelming for him.

Needless to say, Tezuka didn’t remain downstairs, but stepped into the room only a second after Fuji, who walked over to close the blinds now that the sun was gone. When he turned around, Tezuka seemed too close, so Syusuke took a step back, bumping into the window ledge and mentally cursing his small room.

Unexpectedly it was Tezuka who broke the silence first. “You know him well.”

“It’s not necessarily knowing him well, it’s knowing what he needs.” Fuji raised his eyes to meet those of the other boy. He knew Tezuka was talking about the strange way Eiji studied, and in a way it echoed what Fuji had tried to explain to Tezuka earlier on. It was strange the way things came full circle.

“Ahh,” a thoughtful silence. “ but you two aren’t…close.” It was another one of those customised rhetorical statements.

Fuji just shrugged again, arms hugging each other to his chest in an attempt to ward off a sudden chill. “You thought we were?” There was a slight challenge to Fuji’s voice, almost daring Tezuka to make assumptions.

Tezuka’s eyes widened slightly in surprise, barely noticeable, but definitely there. His face softened a little, opening up a fraction, when he spoke. “You still smile at him though. You’re not friends?”

Fuji sighed, easing the hold he had on himself, and letting the smile fall. “We are, but… “ He dropped his gaze, trying to figure out what he wanted to say, which was damn difficult since he didn’t know why he wanted to explain himself. Honesty was a damn sight harder than he’d ever anticipated.

Suddenly an idea struck him and he looked back up, absently noticing that Tezuka seemed to be somewhat closer than before. “I have reasons for keeping it like this.”

And again Tezuka was so close that Fuji had to fight the claustrophobia, had to fight against slamming his smile back into place and playfully pushing past the other boy. This was what he’d been offered wasn’t it? Someone who could and would look past what he presented to the world. Then why couldn’t Fuji just bring himself to accept it? Maybe it was because he’d fought against it for so long, he just didn’t know how not to.

Strong, slender fingers brushed the hair away from Fuji’s eyes, making the shorter boy suppress a shiver of Déjà vu. It was as if those fingers were being careful not to actually make contact with his skin, for which he was grateful, not quite sure of how he would react if they did. This was perilously close to too close.

All Tezuka did was blink, before murmuring softly, so that Fuji felt the light wash of the other boy’s breath against his face. “Ahh, I see.”

And all of a sudden that’s exactly what Fuji was afraid of; that Tezuka could see. Countless reactions ran through his head, and he only just managed to resist the temptation to physically push the body restricting his movement away from him.

It was almost as if Tezuka read his mind. The taller boy stepped back slightly, eyes still locked to Fuji’s own. “It suits you.”

Syusuke blinked. “Thank you.”

Tezuka just smiled. It was the first real smile Fuji had ever seen. Not that half smile the other boy used when he was amused, nor the slight upturn of his lips that looked like he was fighting a frown. It was truly a lovely smile, and Fuji let himself wonder, just for a brief instant, if Tezuka knew just how it complemented him.

The captain sat himself on the bed, eyes never leaving the prodigy’s face. “You're welcome.”

And they both knew it had nothing to do with hairstyles.

~~**~~

Yes ... well... that's how it turned out... hmmm

Feedback appreciated, rotten tomatoes accepted... just tell me what you thought please... heh

Comments

( 3 raindrops — Make it rain )
fic_faery
May. 3rd, 2004 07:19 am (UTC)
Is it bad of me to laugh out loud when Fuji is planning torture and murder for people? That must be a fun part about writing Fuji though, he is caring and protective of people but he's also not afraid to deliver punishment. So many contradictions behind that smile it must be fun to create them all and add to the thoughts behind the facade he puts up.

I like how you keep your metaphors moving throughout the story, the Tezuka book with pages or words in English needing translating, or the road to Rome and the others that just seem so natural in your story that I barely notice them but still add so much.

I love your Eiji, the way you describe him moving and talking is so him. Even his studying habits scram Eiji.

OH the ending was so sweet, and I like how Tezuka's fingers just seemed drawn to Fuji's hair and how Fuji is constantly struggling to hold up his end of this frienship and opening up.
arithion
May. 4th, 2004 09:02 pm (UTC)
Yay, you liked my Eiji! Thank you! I have a really bad habit with metaphors... they tend to take over my life...

So glad you liked!
nekomiao
Jul. 10th, 2004 10:17 pm (UTC)
I loooove your Kikumaruuu!! I love you soooooo much when you write about him! Omg Omg waaai!! I wanna marry someone like that guy seriously.

It amused Fuji no end, to assign the dates of important world events to different brands and flavours of toothpaste, to different types of burgers, drinks, sports shoe brands…and tennis balls and moves.

hahah "Can you believe it Fuji? My sister used up the last of my toothpaste!"
The things he talks about are so cute...
( 3 raindrops — Make it rain )

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