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*
Summary: What’s behind a smile…?
Warning: Ok, so we finally get to episode 9 yay… or half way through it anyhu lol. So… if you’re not up to there in the series… spoilers…Otherwise, just a bit of angsting, a smidgen of humour and … a phone call…
Fuji watched the training begin, mildly amused, while Oishi babbled on about how good Eiji was, and how fast the redhead’s hand-eye coordination was. Although he tried to squelch it, that little part of him couldn’t resist pointing out the flaw to Oishi’s theory. At the stumped look he received from the vice-captain, Fuji simply gestured to Echizen.
“That’s not true. Look…the next court…he’s…” Fuji let the sentence just hang there once he’d made Oishi aware. The look of surprise on the vice-captain’s face was more than enough to amuse him for a few minutes. It seemed Echizen was rarely going to cease surprising them. Surprises could be good…
Fuji chuckled. Oh, Inui could be cruel. The prodigy watched Eiji protest his need to drink Inui’s juice on the grounds that the data specialist hadn’t been playing fair. To be honest, Fuji didn’t know what all the fuss was about. Sure, the drink was green, but green was a rather nice colour, wasn’t it? Wasabi was green too. Fuji grinned.
The reaction from Eiji upon consuming said drink was more than priceless, and Fuji laughed. When Echizens reaction shortly thereafter proved to be similar, cerulean eyes narrowed in thought. The exercise wasn’t overly difficult, even with the added weights, but that…concoction was interesting.
Crossing his arms, Fuji watched Oishi play. The vice-captain was good, but even he couldn’t avoid drinking the drink. Even Oishi, who was usually a model for the rest of the tennis club, couldn’t hold himself back from running off the court to find something to wash down the taste with.
The shortest senior smiled, glancing at Kawamura who was looking at the tennis court with trepidation. It was his turn next. Impishly, Fuji handed the other boy his racket, which he’d forgotten and took a step back to watch the reaction he knew was coming. “Here, Taka-san.” For some reason Takashi had always gained an immediate, almost brash, confidence whenever he held a racket in his hands.
“Ah, sorry, Fuji.” Takashi absently gripped the racket.
This time was no disappointment and Syusuke let himself be mildly amused for a little while watching his friend’s intensity. However, Kawamura ended the same as the rest before him. After a valiant effort, he too succumbed…and ran off in search of something to block out the taste.
Momoshiro and Kaidou were no exception either, even though the latter put up a very good fight against the taste. Fuji’s plan formed firmer in his mind. He’d always been fond of things that were spicy, that had an unusual taste. From very early on in his life he had had that insane urge to eat anything someone told him he couldn’t handle. He would eat it, smile, and thereby prove that he could eat it, and that the person in question was wrong. Even if he hated how it tasted, Fuji had found a solution that allowed him to eat almost anything he wanted to.
Stepping up to the net, he tested his strings and smiled. He was feeling impatient, and only gave the exercise a token effort. Some things were just more fun! When he called the hit wrong his grin widened.
Somehow the actions roused Eiji enough to protest. “Fuji! You did it on purpose!!”
Already at the net to accept his drink, Fuji just nodded. “Yeah, I want to drink it at least once.” Taking the cup in his hand he raised the strange green liquid to his lips and knocked it back inside of three gulps. Lowering his hand one more he smiled in exclamation, smiling happily. “This is quite good, I recommend it.”
The whole incident was worth it just to see Inui sweat-drop. There was a draw back though, Fuji was the only one on the team not to drop to the ground and lie on it. Everyone except Fuji was permitted to lie down for a short while. Well, Fuji didn’t count Tezuka… the captain wouldn’t show weakness if it had a knife to his throat.
Syusuke was only partially paying attention. Just enough of his awareness to note the corrections Inui mentioned he should make…and just enough to hear the comment about Tezuka.
“Tezuka did well in not missing any, but he needs more flexibility. Your expression is too cold.”
If Fuji had been drinking something he would have choked on it. As it was he had to raise his hand to his mouth to bite the knuckles so that his laughing wouldn’t be too loud. Not all of the other team members were that subtle. And Tezuka…just stood there, expressionless as usual, yet Fuji could see that slight tension; the miniscule sign that told him something had bothered Tezuka.
It was a shame really, as Fuji would love to find out what it was. His parents would be coming home that evening, however, and it was about the time for Fuji’s monthly lecture from his father. The prodigy wanted to get it over and done with, and he suddenly decided he wanted a new cactus. Whenever something troubled him, or whenever he let something trouble him, it was the one way he dealt with it. The fact that he only had several cacti indicated that he was rarely troubled, or at least, that’s what he told himself.
Practice came to an end and they all trudged into locker room, leaving the first year non-regulars to clear up the practice area. Fuji wasn’t really paying attention to any of the others. Too many thoughts were warring with each other inside his head. He even failed to notice when Eiji came to stand directly in front of him, hands on hips, a concerned look on his face.
“Fuji!” the red heads tone was chastising. “I’ve been talking to you for the last five minutes. It’s not really nice to ignore me. You could have just said so if you didn’t want to listen.”
Fuji hadnt realised that Eiji had been talking to him. He mentally cursed his father and his lectures taking over the portion of his brain he usually reserved for paying vague attention to his surroundings. “Sorry, Eiji.” It was one of those rare moments that Fuji actually meant the apology.
A slight frown crossed the other boy’s face. “Are you alright?”
Cerulean eyes crinkled as Fuji smiled. “Of course I am. I just found the weights strenuous.” Ok, so it was a lie, but Fuji could get away with what others didn’t know about. He pretended Tezuka wasn’t watching him from the corner of the room.
When he was ready to go the locker room was long empty. He’d deliberately dawdled; not meeting Tezuka’s eyes, hoping the captain would leave, since Ryuzaki-sensai was staying back and could lock up. His wish was granted and he sighed with relief. It was just one of those days where the smile was easier, safer, and he didn’t want to have to build a wall back up between them. It was too painful to keep ripping down.
He knew the captain wouldn’t be waiting for him outside, and yet the fact that he wasn’t still made Fuji feel slightly… disappointed. His feet dragged as he trudged home, not able to bring his façade back full force. And if he was honest, he really didn’t care right then; he was so not looking forward to that night.
The prodigy wasn’t wrong, although he wished he had been. His parents were actually early and already there when he got home. His one saving grace – Yumiko – was no where in sight. Great, he thought, just great. Alone with them for dinner, his day was just getting better and better.
Depositing his bag in his room, Fuji glanced at his cacti with a frown. That just wouldn’t do. He decided to go shopping the next day, and it was the only thing that put a smile on his face before he was called down to eat.
The meal proceeded in silence. When they’d finished, his mother cleared the table and left the room. His father took a deep breath before speaking. “Have you decided if you’ll take it?”
Fuji had known it was coming, but that didn’t mean he had to like it. For the last twelve months he had an open scholarship invitation awaiting him: to attend a high school for the gifted. It almost made him laugh, but he didn’t want to insult his father and perhaps be forced to take the offer. “I’m still not sure.”
His father sighed. “You need to decide by the end of the year, Syusuke. This is your future we’re talking about. You can be a lawyer, a doctor, anything at all.”
Fuji clamped down on the hurt he felt when his father refused to mention anything more mundane. Photography was never mentioned or dismissed if he brought it up, and tennis… well they just wouldn’t go there. Tennis was the reason Yuuta wasn’t at home with them, and his parents resented it slightly, even if they didn’t realise how they acted. “I know, father.”
The man looked at him, as if trying to see through him. “Syusuke. What do you want to do?”
The question surprised Fuji and he looked up, momentarily forgetting to mask his eyes; eyes his parents hadn’t clearly seen in years. “I…don’t know.” He couldn’t even hide the confusion in his voice. He pretended not to see the surprise on his father’s face and instead clamped down on his crumbling defences. Damn you, Tezuka. It was all he could coherently think at that point in time.
For some reason his father seemed to get annoyed. “Well, find out, Syusuke. You don’t have long, and my patience isn’t infinite. If you can’t decide, I’ll decide for you.” He got up from the table to leave, stopping just before he reached the door. “Oh, and tennis isn’t an option.”
If glares could have killed, Fuji’s would have bore a white searing hole through his fathers back and out his chest. Since they couldn’t, all Fuji could do was count to ten before slipping upstairs.
It was dark outside, but he raised the blinds anyway and opened the window. Pushing his cacti to one side, he picked his favourite up and sat on the window ledge. The cool breeze washed over him, making his hair swish across his face. His eyes fell on the cactus he’d picked up and he smiled a little at it. It was such a complex little thing. He played with the Oreocereus ceisianus, letting his fingers brush over the fine woolly top, yet not pressing hard enough to prick a finger. Not like he had with Tezuka yesterday.
Ahhh, Tezuka. Fuji’s thoughts drifted, like the wind, carrying his thoughts where he didn’t really want to go. The captain wasn’t something he was sure he should be thinking about. But as the wind made his hair tickle his face, the prodigy remembered the ghosting of Tezuka’s own skin so close to his own, and he realised something.
It was a nice memory, had been a good feeling. At the time, he’d been scared, and maybe he still was, but maybe… just maybe there was a person who would fully accept him. Tezuka certainly didn’t seem to be running yet. Or… perhaps he hadn’t waited that afternoon for a reason other than understanding.
Fuji felt weak. How could he come to need another human being like that? Maybe he’d been right to steer clear of close friendships before? Although, perhaps need wasn’t the right word. It was just comfortable and he could feel at ease. It was nice to just relax sometimes.
The shrill ring of his cell phone broke the reverie and he sighed, hopping down from his sanctuary to retrieve the phone. Still holding the cactus in his hand, he settled himself back in place before answering.
“Yes?” Maybe his voice sounded a little flat, but he couldn’t help it.
“…Fuji…” Tezuka’s voice made Fuji suppress a sigh of relief.
“Mmm…” He knew Tezuka would… well, understand, or come as close to it as was possible.
And Fuji just closed his eyes for a few seconds, enjoying the fact that they didn’t even need to say anything in order for him to feel comfortable. It was an interesting friendship, one he didn’t think he could handle losing anymore.
Teazuka’s soft voice broke through his thoughts once more. “…Tomorrow?”
And Fuji was grateful. In that one word the other boy had asked him if he was going to be okay, and if tomorrow was soon enough. Just knowing he had someone he could turn to made it ten times easier. “Tomorrow.” He answered, smiling into the phone, and felt the need to add more. “They’ll be gone again.” He knew Tezuka would know whom he was talking about.
“Ahhh…” There was a brief silence. “Any plans at all?”
Fuji knew he meant for the weekend in general. “No…not really. There’s just…” he glanced at his cacti, a slight frown marring his features. “I have something…to do.” He could almost hear the hesitation in Tezuka’s breathing. “Want to help?”
Ahhh always the efficient Tezuka. Fuji chuckled softly. “Whenever you want to be here.”
There was a rare, soft chuckle on the other end of the phone, as if Tezuka was about to say something else and thought better of it. It made Fuji curious. “When do they leave?”
“I’ll be there then.”
“Until then…” The phone clicked in his ear, and Fuji sighed softly, holding it to his ear a little longer and closing his eyes. If he knew why that short phone call, why the fact that his friend knowing him well enough to call and see how he was, made him feel so much damn better; he’d bottle it, sell it, and become rich.
The wind was cooler now, and he shivered lightly as a slight gust blew into his room, but he stayed where he was, just enjoying the night air and his thoughts.
thanks for reading! Yes… that is a cactus name… they’re the cute little ones that have that webby sort of white hair over the spikes…
I thought he’d like it because the veneer looks harmless unless you delve too close hehe.
Anyhu feedback appreciated!!!