Genre: Angstish, bit of drama… um… yeah
Pairing: None really, heavy Fuji/Tez friendship… well yes... shonen ai… sighs
Summary: What’s behind a smile…?
Warning: Shonen ai heh… and well… I am so totally confused by the timeline, but hey… it happens in episode 23 with the fearful Inui juice yay hehe. Anyway, yes well… angst, irritated Fuji, commanding Tezuka and well… wasabi sushi and a bet hehe
The prefectural’s were just around the corner, and the thought made Fuji frown as he got dressed for school. Buttoning up his jacket, he ran over the probable line up list for the tournament. Absently he adjusted the blinds to let some sunlight through for the cacti during the day. Line up… that would mean that…
He turned, train of thought broken as Tezuka stepped back into the room, and smiled one of his true smiles. The taller boy was a strong captain; he was a leader. If anyone could lead them to the nationals, Tezuka would…but Fuji;s eyes narrowed, a brief thought flitting through his mind as he let his gaze rest on Tezuka’s left arm briefly.
“We have practice.”
Fuji raised an eyebrow. “You don’t say,” he murmured, picking up his bag and heading out the door. Tezuka followed, and Fuji could just feel the frown on the other boys face.
They fell into step beside each other, walking in the usual silence to school. Syusuke felt quite good though, his head felt clear and he no longer dwelt on what he couldn’t control…well, not much anyhow. A fleeting thought brought a grin of amusement to his face.
“Ne, Tezuka. Inui will be encouraging the regulars with his juice again, ne?”
Tezuka stopped and looked at Fuji, sunlight glinting off his glasses, mouth in a thoughtful frown. He didn’t need to answer. That stance was enough of one, and Fuji was also forced to halt his steps. Eyes observing from behind tawny lashes, Fuji smiled and asked. “The loser will have to drink again?” Even though he already knew the answer.
“Yes…” the tone was wary, as if Tezuka was trying to figure out just what it was Fuji was up to.
“Then I have a challenge for you.”
Tezuka raised an eyebrow. “Oh…?”
“You have to drink the juice during practice, in front of everyone, but you can’t let it affect you, and… you can’t have lost in order to drink it.”
The captain looked thoughtful for a second. “And to what end? What do I gain from this?”
Fuji laughed. “A cast-iron stomach!”
“Not good enough,” and Tezuka began to move again, but stopped, looking back, when Fuji grabbed his wrist.
“If you do that,” Fuji took a breath and opened his eyes to meet the brown ones observing him steadily. “then I’ll… be serious.”
A tight smile crossed Tezuka’s face. “You don’t believe that yourself.” He replied quietly.
Fuji chuckled ruefully. “Touché.” He sighed as they began walking once more, before mumbling softly. “You just enjoy spoiling my fun.” He couldn’t keep the smile out of his voice though.
Tezuka glanced at him, but kept walking. “When I do this…you owe me something. When…not if.”
Syusuke gulped a little at his friend’s tone of voice. “I owe you something,” he repeated, as if testing the taste on his tongue. “Owe you what?”
“You’ll see…” And Tezuka refused to say another word.
Fuji was far from satisfied with that answer, but knew pressing the issue wouldn’t work. Tezuka was nothing if not stubborn when he had his mind set on something. Although Fuji was overwhelmed with curiosity over what he’d just agreed to, he knew he’d find out eventually. Though he would rather sooner than later.
He entered the locker room alone, as usual. Inui’s tactics were rarely employed before school. It would look bad for the tennis club if the members collapsed and couldn’t go to class. He was just going to have to wait to see just how Tezuka was going to manage it. Fuji’s smile brightened as he changed into his club gear.
And he grimaced, before turning around to smile softly at his hyperactive friend. “Eiji…”
“I passed…did I tell you?” Eiji was pulling off his uniform and flinging it haphazardly down onto the bench.
Fuji wondered if his friend would get told off for having a crumpled uniform yet again that day. “Yes, Eiji. At least three times yesterday.” Although Fuji had to admit he’d only paid the vaguest of attention.
“Oh…” Kikumaru’s voice was muffled as he pulled on his polo shirt. “Well, you and Tezuka really helped me. Wanted to make sure I said thanks!” He paused, as if just having an idea and turned to look at Fuji. “You sure have been spending a lot of time around the captain lately…”
Fuji raised an eyebrow. “I have?” He shrugged. “ I didn’t notice.” His smile became disarming and his voice deceptively cheerful. “How is Oishi?” There was a faint blush that crossed Eiji’s cheeks at the question, leaving Fuji feeling somewhat vindicated.
“Oh, well… he’s great. I guess you’re right!” Eiji’s eyes shone again, quickly recovered. “Come on, Fujiko-chan!” And the redhead grabbed Fuji’s arm, dragging him out towards the tennis courts. “Let’s get a head start on laps! Then we can play until the others catch up! I never get to play you!”
Fuji laughed, letting himself get swept along by his friend, trying not to notice the glint of sunlight off the glasses watching them from the overhead window.
Interesting…that was the only thing Fuji could come up with as he listened to Inui run down just what they would be doing that afternoon. It seemed one of them would be playing in attack modus, and the other would be playing in defence. Different styles would be pitted against each other, and Fuji wondered idly who he’d get to play this time.
Inui had a new juice though, and curiosity was going to win over pride considering how much the prodigy wanted to taste it. The loss would be bearable, the look on Inui’s face so priceless that Fuji thought it well worth it.
They watched the matches; Kawamura and Kaidioh up first. The burning player was rather impressive to watch, and Fuji was happy to see that the injury had obviously healed. It let his conscience push the guilt he’d felt to the back of his mind. Kaidoh’s usual snake wouldn’t work in a situation where the other player was only using half of the court, and to hit the ball into the other court would be to hit it out. Which was indeed what happened, and Kaidoh was the first victim to fall to the drink.
Fuji watched, smile blooming brighter on his face, as the other youth drank the drink before running off the courts, stopping, and collapsing to the ground. The short senior chuckled, not able to help himself, and he wondered if Tezuka was perhaps having second thoughts about the little challenge Fuji had set for him.
Oishi and Momoshiro were up next, and vice-captain or not, Oishi couldn’t escape the same treatment. His attention was still fixated on the boy sprawled on the ground, when Tezuka called his name.
“Fuji.” The captain gestured to the other side of the net, and Fuji smiled, not showing an ounce of surprise. He readied himself for the ball from Inui and placed it easily over the net, but waiting for Tezuka’s return shot was futile.
With a slight of his wrist Tezuka performed his trademarked move. The drop shot that helped earn him his status, hit the ground with a soft thud and spun inwards, back towards the net. There was silence all around, and Fuji just smiled more.
His eyes opened slightly as he looked across the court to meet Tezuka’s own, and a real smile crept briefly onto his face. The captain wanted something, and Fuji found himself needing to know what it was.
“Just now, you played seriously eh…”
Tezuka just looked at him for all of a few seconds, which seemed more like an eternity, before answering. “Of course.”
For a brief moment there was an answer in there, telling Fuji that he should be prepared to deal with the consequences when he issued a challenge. Everything about Tezuka screamed that he wouldn’t lose that bet… and the determination Fuji read in his friend’s bearing, almost made him worry about just what would be in store for him…but only almost.
He chuckled softly, hiding his eyes behind his lashes once more, and made his way over to where Inui stood. Time to take his punishment, and yet Fuji couldn’t help look forward to the taste and the shock.
Eiji was sitting on the ground, yet to have his own match. “Didn’t you give up quickly, Fuji?”
Fuji smiled down at his friend. “Yeah, but I also wanted to try Inui’s drink again.”
Inui began pouring the drink, but it was clear, and Fuji frowned, tilting his head slightly to read the label on the bottle. His eyes opened a little, and he almost laughed as he read it outloud. “It says “Tezuka””
That…sneaky son of a…and the smile on Fuji’s face increased ten fold, as all eyes turned to watch Tezuka, who was drinking out of Inui’s bottle. Everyone focused on the captain, seeking to see if he too was affected by Inui’s concoctions. They watched him knock back quite a bit of the juice and Fuji couldn’t help but grin, while the others looked like they might try to catch flies.
Tezuka stopped drinking, eyes closed for a split second that Fuji doubted anyone else noticed, and looked at them all. “What are you staring at? Hurry and start the next match.”
Everyone else turned their attention away, and Fuji listened to Eiji who chattered about Tezuka’s resilience before moaning about playing ‘Ochibi’. Out of the corner of his eye, Fuji saw Tezuka’s hand shake, and he chuckled.
Oh, well, a bet was a bet…now all Fuji had to do was wait and see what it was that he owed Tezuka.
Eiji and Echizen’s match was rather unexpected, but then the redhead was a little more unpredictable when he was trying to avoid that juice anyway. Of course, Ryoma slamming the ball into the other boy was probably an overreaction… an amusing overreaction. Syusuke gathered with the rest of the regulars who could still stand, and waiting for Ryuzaki-sensai.
Their lecture was postponed until the rest could join them, and Fuji found his eyes wandering curiously to the board at the side of the court. Sharp eyes narrowed momentarily, taking in the information in one sweet of it. The smile wrapped itself around him, keeping the scowl at bay. He barely heard a word that was being said.
Kawamura’s words seemed so distant when he spoke. “We’ll be playing your brother’s school, St Rudolph, in the best 8 match, right, Fuji?”
Syusuke forced himself to nod and mumble a “Yeah,” because it was all he could manage. Yuuta should have been with him at Seigaku, but he wasn’t. Damn, he hadn’t let himself get down like this for so long. His mind was even distracted enough that only the part of his brain that filed things away for later use, noticed Tezuka briefly favour his left elbow.
Practice over; Fuji decided not to bother getting changed back into his dress uniform. He walked into the locker room, grabbed his bag, smiled a goodbye and left the grounds. His gait was brusque and determined; as if just by focusing on something mundane he could forget others.
He wasn’t expecting Tezuka to be standing at the side of the courts as he walked past, and so stopped in surprise.
“I didn’t think you’d be a bad loser, Fuji.” And the prodigy knew Tezuka wasn’t referring to the match. He remained silent, waiting for the captain to finish.
“You’re alone this weekend?”
Tezuka’s lips turned up in thought and he nodded, almost to himself. “I have something to do, but I’ll come over later.” It wasn’t a request, because it didn’t need to be. Spending time at each other’s home had grown into a habit, and Fuji would have been more worried had Tezuka decided not to come at all. Yet he was caught off guard at Tezuka’s parting words.
“Remember…you owe me now.”
It wasn’t as if Syusuke was about to forget, and he bit back a harsh retort as he watched his friend’s retreating back. For some strange reason, for the first time in a long time, he wasn’t sure whether or not he was looking forward to Tezuka’s company.
When the doorbell rang that evening, Fuji answered it, smiling. Tezuka glanced at him, piling some light brown paper packed squares into the shorter boy’s arms, before taking off his shoes, and dropping his backpack. Once he’d done that, he took the packets back off Fuji and walked with them into the kitchen.
Fuji just watched, still smiling, eyes open to slits as he watched his friend. He had no intention of helping, because he was in a strange mood. Curiosity alive thought it was, he simply waited for Tezuka to come back, which the taller boy did shortly afterwards.
Tezuka frowned at him. “Regular’s uniform?”
Fuji looked down, not having changed out of his tennis uniform simply because he couldn’t be bothered. “Yes, you should know, Tezuka. You have one too!” And Fuji wished that the panic he used to get when someone touched him would come back, instead of that ache that ran through him when Tezuka grabbed his arm… like now.
He walked behind Tezuka sullenly, face still beaming, and was led silently into his bedroom where Tezuka proceeded to search his draws. Syusuke watched in mild amusement as a loose shirt and a pair of his silk pyjama pants were laid out for him.
“Clothes can help you relax.” Tezuka said by way of explanation before heading towards the door.
Fuji smirked, a sliver of cruelty rising up in him. “Ahh, you’re not going to wear anything then?”
The taller boy froze briefly before opening the door. “I’ll get changed downstairs. Come down when you’re ready… and I’ll tell you what I won.”
Yet another angry retort had to be bitten down as Fuji stared at the now closed door. He couldn’t figure out why the hell Tezuka was being so…intense about the bet. A thought crossed his mind and Fuji cursed softly under his breath. “Damn. Bet he wants me to play seriously.” Which was really not going to suit the prodigy at all. How great was friendship when it only tore away at everything you’d built around yourself?
Mood foul, Fuji headed downstairs. Glancing in the living room, he realised that Tezuka wasn’t there, and headed into the kitchen. His eyes widened in surprise as he saw what Tezuka was setting out on plates: Sushi.
“Fuji…take this.” Tezuka turned around, handing a plate to the shorter boy, almost pushing him against the wall with his proximity.
Fuji looked at the sushi on his plate, eyes taking in the assortment with some surprise. “You…”
Tezuka shrugged; a silent response in place of words that may have seemed too loud.
“Oh,” and Fuji picked up a piece of wasabi sushi, not able to keep a real smile from spilling onto his face.
Syusuke cocked his head to one side, still propped against the wall, curious. He knew the other boy wasn’t talking about whether or not the sushi was good, and yet… it took a couple of seconds for Fuji to realise that his own smile had been replaced by a genuine one. “Ahh…” He looked away. “So, what do I owe you?” The words came out softly, almost hesitant.
Warm breath brushed over his face, and Syusuke closed his eyes for a moment, trying to regain his bearings like he had to every time Tezuka was close. He hadn’t noticed the other boy lean over. When he opened his eyes again he noted Tezuka’s hands on the wall to either side of him.
Those brown eyes were so demanding, and he found himself wanting to meet those demands. This was the person Tezuka was. He was commanding, honest, and charismatic…and at the same time there were so many levels to him. Levels that Fuji just wanted to pull away at, until he could reveal the rest. There was so much to the boy in front of him that he didn’t know, so much he wanted to know…and so much he was scared to find out.
He clutched the plate in his hands, not able to tear his eyes away from the others. “Tell me…”
One of Tezuka’s hands snaked down, gently removing the plate and placing it on the sideboard, before bringing it back up to brush hair out of Fuji’s eyes. Brown eyes focused on cerulean, as if willing Fuji’s walls to drop away. “This weekend is mine.”
“Just you, and me.”
And Fuji understood what the prize was, a small smile creasing his lips. “Rome?”
The taller boy shrugged and leaned closer, brushing lips across Fuji’s forehead. It was a soft wash of warm breath, and Fuji closed his eyes, savouring the feeling…the feeling of not wanting to push the other boy away. Lips moved lightly against his brow, and Syusuke could feel that rare smile tugging at Tezuka’s lips as he spoke.
“The whole two way street…”
Fuji chuckled, sighing into that hold, feeling Tezuka’s arms surround him, pulling him against that chest. It was strange, but he found himself not wanting to move…not for a very long time.
ahhh well yes *fends off the rotted tomatoes*
That’s just the way the chapter crumbles hehe
Feedback appreciated!!! Houston we have contact /snicker